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A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob…

A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers (original 1986; edition 2011)

by John Feinstein

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Title:A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers
Authors:John Feinstein
Info:Simon & Schuster (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers by John Feinstein (1986)

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I liked it because it was about Bob Knight, a figure I have been fascinated by for many, many years. I used to tell people I decided to get my undergrad degree at Indiana University because of Knight (in a past life I was an inappropriately obsessed basketball player, against all odds at 5'1"). This was, of course, before I learned of his hilariously out-of-touch sexism. But still, his style of basketball was my bread and butter. I can't believe I hadn't read Feinstein's book sooner--it is still the best-selling sports book of all time. However, I was amazed by how poorly it was written. I found myself, time and again, wondering just how good the book could have been if a talented writer had had access to Knight for that season. Feinstein's writing is just middling, he gives away nonfiction plot points that could be used to create narrative tension, he overuses words (if the team "broke up" in laughter again, I was going to scream), and he just made the events of the season feel very repetitive. Feinstein needed an editor. He's clearly a perennial sportswriter, who gets a book deal once a year or so, so I'm not sure if the genre is lacking talented writers or if Feinstein's access it what gets him book deal after book deal. I give it three stars, at the end of the day, because I flew through it as a break from my heavier readings on the Pole and Nature (for my books-in-progress). It was a nice distraction. It also brought back many memories of my days at IU, watching the basketball team. My senior year, Bob Knight was fired because of an incident with a swaggering frat boy who disrespected him in the hallways of Assembly Hall. ( )
  bookofmoons | Sep 1, 2016 |
A Season on the Brink is based on the 1985-1986 men’s basketball season at Indiana University. Coach Bob Knight is known for his crazy style of coaching and John Feinstein gets to experience it first hand. Coach Knight takes his players on an emotional roller coaster throughout the season, but more times than not gets them to play at their peek performance come game time. One of the best parts of the book is hearing when Coach Knight displays good virtue. One example of this is when Knight meets a family that is deaf and gives them an assortment of Indiana memorabilia. Many fans of Knight do not know that is also a sweet-hearted man and this book does a great job of showing both sides of him. Feinstein does a great job of letting the reader go along for the roller coaster ride with the players. One of my favorite sport’s stories of all time, and I would recommend it to anyone sports fanatic.

Clinton D. ( )
  FolkeB | Jan 21, 2013 |
"A Season on the Brink" was yet another book that I absolutely could not put down. The book follows Bobby Knight and the 1985-86 Indiana Hoosiers. John Feinstein, the author, had full access to the program, and as a result he caught some of the humorous tirades of one of the most colorful basketball coaches in NCAA history. The book does a great job of not only entertaining the reader, but it also does a great job of portraying life lessons, while also detailing the grueling life of a coach, and as a student-athlete as well. Being a coach myself, it is interesting how coach Knight treats his basketball players. While they are under his wing, he is tough on them, but once they graduate Indiana University, he treats them like family, finally showing them how much he truly loves them. There is a lot of coaching philosophy and psychology in this book. Overall, I loved this book, and once again, to use the cliche, I could not put it down. ( )
  chris.coelho | Sep 23, 2011 |
If you know anything about college basketball, you know who Bobby Knight is. But few people can pinpoint the reason why Knight is the way he is and why he is known as one of the best coaches in college basketball history. “A Season on the Brink” chronicles the 1985-1986 basketball season, a year after the infamous chair-throwing incident. In this book, author John Feinstein was somehow allowed to shadow Knight and the team throughout the year, witnessing both the good and bad with the Indiana Hoosiers.
The pinnacle of the book is obviously Knight, trying to help the reader understand this seemingly complicated personality. Really, Knight is a coach who has his own methods for getting what he wants from his players, and will say/do almost anything to get a desired effect. But at the heart of the book is a generous coach who will say/do almost anything to help out the “kids” on his team.
I found this book pretty interesting, mostly because I went to Indiana University. There were some parts that I found pretty dry, and I’ll admit to skimming some of the details of the various games. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an informational look into college basketball, or even fans of OSU’s Woody Hayes. ( )
  DiscoDeb | Oct 18, 2008 |
A fascinating look at one of the sports world's most controversial figures. Bobby Knight is often vilified as pure evil, but this book shows that he is just a complex character like everyone...only to extreme levels.

I understand it's a book about basketball, but the descriptions of games are thankfully brief so there is more time to look at Knight's interaction with players and coaches.

I especially enjoy the human interest moments; like Knight bringing a wheelchair bound Woody Hayes into the locker room to meet his players.

I definitely have greater respect and understanding for Knight, even though he isn't very nice most of the time, after reading this great book. ( )
3 vote GBev2008 | Jun 8, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
There are stretches of A Season on the Brink that remain so vivid in my mind that I recall them without even trying, which might be less a validation of the work and more a product of what happens when you read the same book four times in one year (I once finished the last page and immediately started rereading the book from chapter 7, almost as if this were a normal way to consume anything). It now feels odd that I have such intimate knowledge about a team that went 21-8 and lost to Cleveland State in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but Feinstein’s details remain so rich and evocative and timeless: The fact that Bob Knight put tampons in power forward Daryl Thomas’ locker (and the fact that this somehow motivated Thomas to play harder) tells you everything you need to know about that relationship (and about the psychology of the two men involved).
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November 24, 1985....The day was no different than any other day in the fall.
I feel like if they can handle me, they can probably handle any crowd on the road or any kind of adversity that may come up in a game.
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